NHS Struck by Nursing Shortage

Nursing Shortage
BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam
Legally reviewed by: BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam In: Medical Negligence

Hospitals in England are warning of an intense shortage of nurses, as there is a collapse in the number of recruits from Europe, including Spain and Italy. In addition to this, a recent report has revealed that unsafe maternity care has cost the NHS £8.2bn in 15 years.

Nursing Shortage

Figures have shown that one in five nursing posts on some wards in England are now unfilled, and the most recent figures have shown that about 39,000 vacancies for registered nurses in England, with one in 10 nursing posts unfilled on acute wards in London and one in five nursing posts empty on mental health wards in the south-east. The number of nurses from the European Economic Area joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council register has fallen more than 90%, from 9,389 in the year to 31 March 2016 to 810 in the year to 31 March 2021. These are highly concerning figures, considering that experts last week warned that flu could kill up to 60,000 this winter. The England director for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: ‘There just aren’t enough staff to deliver the care that is needed, and now we have a nursing workforce crisis. We should never have got into a position where we were so dependent on international nurses. We are on a knife-edge.’

The government is aiming to increase the number of NHS nurses by 50,000 by 2025. NHS England announced £28m of funding in September last year to recruit nurses from overseas to help pay for accommodation, flights and quarantine. The general upfront cost of recruiting a nurse from overseas is between £10,000 and £12,000, but the comparative for the UK is that it takes three years to train a nurse in the UK and it costs from £50,000 to £70,000. The government does not pay tuition fees, but provides maintenance grants worth at least £5,000 a year. A Nuffield Trust thinktank commissioned by the NHS and published last week, said significant overseas recruitment would be required if the government nursing target was to be met.

Unsafe Maternity Care

On top of these concerning shortages, there have been widespread reports of negligent maternity care in the NHS. Government ministers have been urged to increase spending to ensure that maternity units are safe for women and babies by providing adequate staffing levels, training and equipment. Negligent maternity care is found to have cost the NHS £8.2billion over the past 15 years. This means that the cost of just one year’s worth of maternity blunders could pay the starting salaries of more than 36,930 NHS nurses. The number of maternity claims has also more than doubled in the last 10 years, with maternity claims representing almost 60% of the total payouts for claims against the NHS. If any mother or child has been injured due to negligent maternity care, then they should be compensated. If you have been affected by a medical professional’s mistake, then we can help you to get the compensation that you need to recover.

Read more on our birth negligence compensation claims page.

If you have experienced medical negligence due to failing of the NHS, you may be eligible to sue the NHS. 

Get in touch for a chat about your situation and to get expert advice.

Get in touch